The history of any Catholic Church in Surrey goes back to the middle of the 19th Century when the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) provided the only Catholic presence in the whole of British Columbia. The Order had a house in New Westminster from where missionary priests established a small church on the Semiahmoo Indian Reserve at White Rock. This building was in use in 1860, as mentioned by Margaret Lang in her book, Along the Way. Later, the Oblates operated a residential school for the federal government at Mission on the north bank of the Fraser River where they also built a house, a sisters' convent and a Marian Grotto.

At the urging of the Lavoie and the Ryan families, Archbishop William M. Duke, a cousin of the Ryans, asked Father Alex Madden, O.M.I., a retired army chaplain to take a census of the Catholics in the greater Cloverdale area. Father Madden either did not drive or didn't have access to a car. He walked every day all summer long and listed all the Catholics he could find with the help of those already known to him. Usually someone would give him supper and drive him back to Langley, but he walked from Aldergrove to Newton, Sunnyside to Port Kells. His census indicated to the Bishop that a new parish should be established.

A quote from the pen of the late Stan McKinnon, who was the editor and publisher of the Surrey Leader from 1945 until 1979 read:
"One afternoon in September, 1947, I was called to the front desk of the Surrey Leader in Cloverdale. Our clerk told me there as a man who wanted to see me. "I am your new priest, Patrick O'Sullivan," said the big young man on the other side of the counter. "Oh, they have moved Father Kennedy?" I asked as I led the big untraditionally dressed priest up to my office. "No," he said. "Cloverdale is to be set up as a separate parish." I was not accustomed to see a priest on pastoral business wearing a crumpled T-shirt and running shoes; this just did not fit the picture, but I certainly was happy with the enthusiasm that Father Pat was showing.

The name chosen by Fr. O'Sullivan for the new parish was Precious Blood. Father Pat served a dual role as pastor and as chaplain for the federal prison at New Westminster. Parts of White Rock and Langley were included within the boundaries of Cloverdale. Later new parishes would shrink the area of Cloverdale.

A decision was made to build a church following the realization of $43,000.00 in a fundraising drive for the the new building. All contractors bids were $5,000 or more over the amount that the building committee felt the parish could manage. With Bill O'Brien as chair and Father Pat as coordinator, a Bank of Montreal loan of $7,000 and a host of volunteers, the church was completed in a period of two months. Alex Inanauskus had a small sawmill in Newton and donated all the framing lumber. He loaned his truck to Father Pat to haul the material to the building site. This job proved to be a most difficult one as the truck had no brakes, but the material arrived safely with each load. The donations of labour and material was estimated to be in excess of $55,000. Mr. Joe Lepine brought topsoil from his farm on 184th Street to spread around the church to prepare the grounds for grass and flowers, and Mr. Art Vander Zalm landscaped around the buildings.

  • The first mention of Precious Blood parish was an ad in the BC Catholic announcing Mass at 10:00 a.m., December 31st, 1948.
  • The first Mass was celebrated on October 14, 1947 with 128 adults and 28 children in attendance, according to an entry in the daily diary of Mrs. A. Lavoie.
  • The first marriage celebrated in the new church was between Norman and Muriel Murphy August 14, 1948.
  • Theresa Waters and Mel Nelson were also among the first married in this church.
  • The last couple to be married was Elsie Lepine and Joseph Bevan.
  • The first baptism in Precious Blood Parish was Michael Neil.